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How Should Men Dress at Graduation? Guide for Graduation Outfits for Men

graduation outfits men

So, your graduation is coming up, and there’s a lot going through your mind – makes sense. After all, graduation day is one of the most influential and important days of a man’s life. It’s the end of a long and challenging journey and the start of a new chapter of your life. While you are looking forward to the event and preparing mentally, don’t forget that this momentous occasion calls for appropriate attire as well. You cannot just turn up in a casual t-shirt and jeans outfit and call it a day. Instead, you need to rock a classy outfit that presents you in the most mature and elegant light possible.

However, for most folks, graduation is a one-time thing, and they have no prior experience with what to wear. If you’re in a similar boat, don’t worry. Here’s a complete and easy-to-follow guide on the best graduation outfits for men.

What to Wear to Graduation as A Male?

The first step in crafting the perfect graduation outfit is to understand the theme. Most graduation events have a strict and often confusing dress code, not to mention the time and effort it takes to decipher them. Even then, you’re left with a set of arbitrary rules and guidelines instead of something concrete like black tie optional, for example. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with any of that, as the large majority of these dress codes come down to wearing business casual or similarly professional attires. In other words, dress shirts, ties, vests, suits, and dress shoes are your best friends for graduation day fashion.

The next major step of dressing up for graduation is to keep the outfit classy yet affordable while also keeping your eyes on the finer details. You want to stand out from the crowd with the elegance and polish of your outfit, but not in a distracting way. The ideal outfit will strike a perfect balance with this eye-grabbing subtlety.

Graduation Outfit Ideas for Men

While you can spend a lot of time understating the nuances of graduation style for men and try to replicate them in your own unique way, a better method is to learn from the best. Here’s a list of men’s graduation outfits that have stood the test of time and held their spot as the most graceful and stylish outfits you can rock.

You can copy these outfits one to one and look dashing with practically zero effort required. Or, you can use these outfits as inspiration for something a lot more personal and unique to you. In either case, this list of the top men’s graduation outfits is the biggest asset at your disposal. Let’s get started.

All-Black Suit

All-Black Suit

Let’s start with a graduation outfit and suit color that looks good for almost every man on this planet. Its key ingredients are a well-fitted black suit, a plain black dress shirt, a skinny black tie, and a pair of shiny black derby shoes. The devil is in the details here, and breaking this all-black look with a contrasty and vibrant pocket square will instantly make this outfit memorable. You can also opt for golden cuff studs for the shirt to exude a subtle high-class vibe. The only thing to ensure is that the black of the suit matches up with the black of the shirt and tie. In other words, no dark gray or slightly off-black as that will ruin the all-black clean aesthetic. Additionally, wearing oxford shoes instead of derby shoes can offer variation to further distinguish yourself from anyone else who decided to wear all-black.

Broken Suit

Broken Suit

Many men believe that the pants and jacket in their suit need to be the same; otherwise, it would look immature. While this is true with certain combinations, you can also craft a lot of fantastic outfits with the broken suit concept. For example, a great broken suit combination for graduation would feature a pair of black ankle-high pants, a white button-up, and a gray checkered blazer. This specific blazer and pants color combo is super effective at looking upbeat and clean while also retaining a strict professional look. The item that’ll bring this whole outfit together, however, is a pair of black leather loafers that complement the ankle-high dress pants perfectly.

Another broken suit combo that’ll look robust on graduation involves a pair of navy blue cropped pants, a light blue button-up, and a soft cream blazer to finish out the gradient. Pair this outfit with brown velvet loafers, and you’re ready to be the star of your graduation event.

Basic Fancy Tie

Basic Fancy Tie

If a suit is not an option because of the season, or any other reason, then your next best option is to rely on a fancy tie. Picture a basic dress outfit without the suit jacket like a pair of mud brown pants, a light blue button-up, black derby shoes, and a black leather belt with a silver buckle. While this outfit is pretty great for any other professional occasion, it lacks that oomph needed for graduation. So, spice it with a fancy tie. Now, this tie can be black with a red and yellow floral pattern or a navy blue tie with white checks; it just needs to be distinct and memorable.

Classy Nerd

Classy Nerd

Being a nerd used to be an insult from a high school bully. Today the word nerd represents a knowledgeable person who has many more interests than just books. You can further lean into this look with the classy nerd outfit featuring charcoal chinos, white and blue thin striped button-down, a matching navy blue tie, and a granite-colored crew neck sweater. Make sure to also accessorize with a brown leather belt, a wristwatch with brown leather straps, and a pair of brown leather boots. The last one is particularly important as the vibe of men’s fashion with boots can’t be replicated with leather sneakers, sports shoes, or even sports shoes for that matter.

Suspenders and Short Sleeves

Suspenders and Short Sleeves

The right outfit for the graduation event is not the one that looks the best; instead, it’s the one that looks best on you. So, take your build, size, and height into account when picking an attire. For example, suspenders are the perfect outfitting tool in fashion for short men. They eliminate the need for belts that divide your silhouette in half – making you look even shorter. Additionally, they create vertical lines that create the illusion of height and make you look taller. An ideal graduation outfit with these features black slim suspenders attached to a pair of black chinos, going over a white button-up with short sleeves. Black leather brogue shoes complete the outfit, while a black bow tie completes the look.

Layered Suit

Layered Suit

Staying on the topic of size, the best graduation outfits for big guys involve layers – at least two of them. For example, the top layer would be a light gray suit jacket with matching gray pants. Under the suit is a dark gray or charcoal vest, with a white button-up as the shirt. A red or blue tie around your neck doesn’t count as a full layer but serves the same purpose of increasing the complexity of your outfit. Lastly, avoid wearing leather shoes with thick soles and raised heels as they’ll make you even taller than you already are, which we do not want.

Smart Casual

Smart Casual

Let’s say that your institute is a lot less strict when it comes to men’s outfits, and you are allowed to wear a casual dress for graduation. Well, it is still not a good idea to turn up in a t-shirt and jeans outfit. However, you elevate this basic premise into something usable with a few key additions. The most notable of these additions is the humble blazer. The only thing to worry about here is the color of the blazer, and it should contrast the rest of the outfit. In other words, wear a black or navy blue blazer over light outfits and a white or cream blazer over dark ensembles. A great example of such an outfit would feature a dark gray and white polo shirt over a pair of blue jeans, all topped with a light gray blazer.

Dos and Don’ts of Graduation Outfits for Men

Now that you’ve seen some of the best graduation outfits men’s fashion has to offer, you’re ready for the event. The only thing left is avoiding some crucial mistakes and following a few essential tips. These are the essential dos and don’ts of graduation outfits for men.

Do Wear A Tie Clip

As the name suggests, a tie clip is a clip that is used to clamp down a tie. However, don’t let its small size fool you into thinking it is unnecessary. This simple addition to your outfit can add a whole new level of classiness that won’t be achievable with your tie flailing all over the place. You can also pick colorful tie clips to further customize the outfit.

Do Focus on The Fit

The fit of your attire is one of the most important attributes you have to consider. The sharpest outfit will look off and plain wrong if it doesn’t have the right fit. Too large, and you’ll look sloppy; too short, and you’ll look armature. So, make sure to balance it correctly. Ideally, each item of your outfit should stay close to your skin with enough room to avoid movement obstruction.

Do Keep Your Shoes Clean

The cleanliness of your shoes holds more power than you might initially realize. A fantastically polished attire can be ruined completely if your shoes are dirty. So, make sure to clean them properly and apply shoe polish until they’re clearly shiny. Also, keep a folded paper towel on hand in case your shoes get dirty during the event.

Avoid Vibrant Colors

While vibrant items like a hot red shirt are a creative part of men’s fashion, it is not a good match for a graduation ceremony. Do not wear bright and vibrant shirts, pants, shoes, or uppers. The only items that can work in these shades are things like ties and pocket squares.

Don’t Wear Smart Watches

Smartwatches have revitalized the need for a wristwatch in recent years. While their benefits are undeniable, most modern smartwatches are not a good match for classy and polished outfits. Try wearing a classic wrist watch or don’t wear one at all.


How should a guy dress for graduation?

If we had to describe men’s graduation fashion in one word, it would be class. So, a man’s graduation attire should be classy, polished, and sophisticated. Well-fitted, clean button-ups, suits, and dress shoes are the safest choice for these outfits, with blazers, polo shirts, and plain sneakers just behind.

Does it matter what you wear to graduation?

Yes, your graduation outfit matters a lot. It will be the last time you’ll interact with most of your classmates, and they’ll remember you from that day. So, wearing a nice outfit is to leave a nice last impression on everyone else at the event.

How do men wear graduation gowns?

Men usually wear their graduation gowns on top of their suits. The suit and vest buttons are closed, while the front of the gown is left wide open to showcase the clothes underneath. The accompanying graduation cap is worn slightly tilted to a side.

What does a black graduation gown mean?

Most institutes around the world use black graduation gowns for doctoral graduation events. Some even have colored piping to indicate the exact field.

Final Words

Graduation is a special day and a milestone in many men’s lives. So, it is only fitting that this momentous day gets equally special outfits. Luckily, you don’t have to go out of your way for some exclusive graduation ensemble. All you need is one elegant suit with a clean shirt and eye-catching tie, and you’re ready for the event. Just make sure to focus on the little details like the color of your pocket square and the cleanliness of your shoes.

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